HL Deb 05 December 2001 vol 629 cc136-7WA
Lord Harrison

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is their response to the European Commission's plan for a single European Union securities prospectus; and how they will ensure that start-up small firms and second-tier markets will benefit from any proposed harmonised stock market listing procedures that result from any such prospectus. [HL1629]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

Her Majesty's Government are committed to ensuring that the Prospectus Directive achieves the goal of an effective single passport for issuers of securities (identified as a priority for the completion of the single European market in financial services at the Lisbon Council in spring 2000), and that it meets the aim of reducing the cost of raising capital in the EU for all companies, including small and medium sized companies (SM Es).

However, the directive, as currently drafted, could lead to an increase in disclosure costs. It is important that the Prospectus Directive provides for different models of initial information disclosure for different sorts of securities and different sorts of issuers and that an appropriate balance is struck between protecting the interests of investors and the need to keep the cost of raising capital as low as possible.

To this end, Her Majesty's Government are consulting with the private sector on an ongoing basis, and HM Treasury Ministers and officials are in close touch with the European Commission, the Belgian Presidency, the European Parliament and other member states so that the necessary changes to this directive can be secured.